Olivia Lesslar
An adventure junkie at heart - travelling three months of the year

Written by Erica Musgrove

Her passions

I decided to go down the GP pathway, where I have my weekends. I make my own hours and I spend three months of the year traveling. I found my passion - travel. That has been very liberating and scary. I am a little bit of an adventure junkie, that’s what my father likes to call it. I've sky-dived, bungee jumped, and scuba dived, parasailed, hang glided, and went caving. If it's something to climb or to explore, then I'm going to do it.

Fear

I don't let fear hold me back. It’s a really easy thing to let creep into your life. We spend our entire time growing up with our parents telling us, "Be careful”, but what does that actually mean? If there is a tree and it's beautiful, it needs to be climbed. I like that about myself. I don't know its necessarily the safest thing, but I do like that.

Ageing

I do talks on the gut and skin microbiome. I prefer the term healthy ageing rather than aesthetics, because there's nothing wrong with ageing.

Food as medicine

We need to start embracing the foods that are better for us. Whole foods not processed foods. Foods that are rich in nutrients. It's a lifestyle shift, a mindset shift. Generally, if you're looking for a diet that is going to give sustained energy, then you're going to want something that's going to burn slowly. Glycaemic index is useful, but it's not the be all and end all. Everybody is different with regards to their genetics, epigenetics, comorbidities and how they breakdown foods. Carbs break down into sugar. When I say carbs, I mean breads, pastas, those processed carbohydrates, which break down into glucose very quickly. That's why you get these mid-afternoon slumps, because you're getting a lot of your energy from these quick sugar fixes. I'm a fan of low processed carbs, high quality protein and fats. No processed foods. Again, one size doesn't fit all.

In medical school when we're taught about nutrition, it it's not much, because there's so much other ground to cover. That's why we've got dieticians, nutritionists, etc. I'm personally from that school of thought that good nutrition and good exercise is the beginning of good health. You cannot say that someone who eats lots of vegetables, good quality protein and has a lot of omega three fats compared to omega six fats, is on an equal playing field as someone who eats processed foods and drinks Coke every day. Nutrition can actually really help with diseases. Food is medicine.”

Being a mature aged student

if you've been through some life experiences outside of high school and medicine, it makes a difference to the way we communicate with patients, and other staff. We (doctors) do think that we know better than a lot of other health professionals. It goes from God to the doctor. But we don't have all the answers. We need to start respecting the other health professionals a lot more than we do.

Mindfulness

We've heard about mindfulness and all that, but I only truly understood it in the last six months. Mindfulness makes us change. I don't mean be a different person. I just mean fulfil the potential that you have within you, to make better choices, to make positive changes in your life. Being mindful of you.

Olivia is currently an integrative medical doctor practicing on the Gold Coast passionate about healthy ageing and skin cancer, gut health, patient education and preventative medicine. She has a very interesting and varied past: In her 20s she travelled for many years, was a stand up comic and hospitality consultant, and completed an international relations degree where she triple majored in French, International relations and diplomacy. She then did med at 30 and has devoted herself to functional medicine and keeping life interesting.

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